Alumni Perspectives: A commitment to helping current students in a changing world

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Nurit Mandel, Director of Alumni Engagement, and the current GPS Alumni Board – a team of alumni spread around the world, currently spanning seven time zones. | Photo courtesy Liliana Pao

Liliana Pao, GPS alumni board president, explains how alumni came together over the past year to foster connections with current students, despite the COVID-19 pandemic

By Liliana Pao | Contributor

Despite the challenges of the past year, alumni have continued to show their commitment to the GPS community through their involvement with the school, fellow alumni and students. 

Alumni speakers from the webinar “Job hunting and working in Europe.” | Graphic courtesy Liliana Pao

This academic year, the Alumni Board launched an Alumni Career Webinar series in cooperation with the school’s Career Services team, focusing on topics current students and alumni expressed an interest in. The first two events, “Job hunting and working in Asia” and “Job hunting and working in Europe,” featured a diverse group of alumni from classes ranging from 1990 to 2015, working in locations as varied as Barcelona, Singapore, London, Seoul, Tokyo and Basel, Switzerland. 

Participants said they appreciated the interaction between these great speakers, who were very open about sharing their personal experiences. Others were impressed by the variety of perspectives and high-caliber alumni, along with their professional achievements, and were grateful they generously gave their time to help other alumni and students. 

Jason Kim ’12, Aska Kuwabara ’11, Scott Park ’90, Michael Yang ’02 and Cathy Guo ’15 during the alumni career webinar “Job hunting and working in Asia.” | Photo courtesy Liliana Pao

The third and last of the webinar events will take place on May 14 and will feature a group of alumni with global experience in the U.S., Europe and Asia who will share their views and tips on navigating office politics. Registration is open to all GPS current students and alumni.

In addition, on May 21, a virtual happy hour will be hosted by the GPS student organization GO GPS, to allow students and alumni all over the world to connect and network. This event is open to GPS alumni and current students. 

In addition to participating in events for alumni and connecting with alumni and students, how else can alumni get involved? Alumni can give back in different ways: 

  • Give your time. Alumni have been actively engaged with students giving career talks and mock interviews through GPS Career Services’ Talks and Mocks and other programs, as well as by reaching out to admitted students through the GPS Admissions office’s campaign. 
  • Make a gift. You can help fund student fellowships through the crowdfunding and campaign. Gifts of all sizes will make a difference.
  • Join the alumni board. Consider joining us in planning alumni events and shaping the involvement of alumni. To be considered, complete the nomination form by June 21. The board will be reviewing nominations and electing a few new members for the 2021-23 period this summer. 
  • Do something else! To get involved on an ad hoc basis, there are plenty of opportunities: 
    • Send an email to Nurit Mandel, Director of Alumni Engagement to determine the best way for you to get involved, based on your individual interests. 
    • Follow the GPS group on LinkedIn to make sure you are aware of any upcoming opportunities to get involved and to participate in events.
    • Join the UC San Diego Tritons Connect platform where you can search for and connect with alumni from GPS and the wider UC San Diego campus, learn about events, engage in mentoring, and participate in the GPS Tritons Connect group.

On behalf of GPS and the Alumni Board, we thank you for your continued support of our alma mater, fellow alumni and future generations of students.

Liliana Pao ’02 is the current GPS Alumni Board president and a senior staff engagement and HR management officer at the European Commission in Brussels, where she designs and manages communication and talent management strategies.

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